Doctor Who Concordance Wiki

"Doctor Who and the Silurians" is the second story of the seventh season of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who and the Silurians
Season 7 (1970), Episode 5 to Episode 11
Air date 31 January - 14 March 1970
Written by Malcolm Hulke
Directed by Timothy Combe
Episode guide
Spearhead from Space
The Ambassadors of Death


Episode 1[]

Episode 2[]

Episode 3[]

Episode 4[]

Episode 5[]

Episode 6[]

Episode 7[]

Background information[]

Story and script[]

  • In the script for the scene in the garage, Liz looks at the partly dismantled Bessie, "horrified at the idea of riding in it."
  • In the scripted version of their arrival at the research centre, Liz hands their passes to a guard, and the Doctor gives the password: "Cloudburst." The sequence was filmed on the 20th of November 1969, but was cut from the final edit when the episode turned out slightly too long.
  • The script gives Meredith's full name as "Doctor James Meredith."
  • In an earlier draft, Captain Hawkins was only a sergeant.
  • The nature of Major Baker's past mistake was explained in a scene cut from the final version of episode one. During a security investigation, he trusted a friend's instincts, and cleared one of the suspects. The person concerned turned out to be a double agent, so Baker's judgment was called into question. This explains why Baker sees enemy agents at the root of the problems at the research centre.
  • After we see the Doctor climb down into the caves and hear the roar, the script cuts back to Liz in the medical office. Doodling, she finds that she has drawn the same creature that Spencer depicted on the sickbay walls. Major Baker enters, engages her in conversation, and gets her to tell him that the Doctor only joined UNIT recently. When he asks if she knows where the Doctor came from, Liz becomes less open: "You wouldn't be trying to pump me, would you?" "Sorry," replies Baker. "Professional reflex. You get so you turn every chat into an interrogation!" After some personal revelations about himself, he draws out of her that the Doctor has gone into the caves. He wants to tell Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but Liz protests, "The Doctor asked me not to tell anyone." Baker insists: "Even if there's nothing down there he could get himself lost. And if there is something..."
  • The script specifies that, while Baker is in the caves in episode two, he sees "a distant figure which might well be human." When it raises its hand, he interprets the gesture as a threat. In fact, it is trying to call off the dinosaur.
  • Following the Brigadier's call to him early in episode seven, Major Walton was to have phoned in and told Liz that he has pulled back to cave mouth 3 as ordered. There were three reasons for cutting this: to tighten the action, to save hiring an actor and to avoid mixing two different telephone dialogue conventions within the same programme.

Cast and characters[]

  • UNIT was devised by co-producer Derrick Sherwin, who also wrote the new format's pilot serial, "The Invasion". To avoid cluttering the series, he was eager to limit the number of regular characters associated with UNIT. The only regulars were the Doctor, Liz Shaw and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and there was to be a new UNIT captain in each serial. In practice, however, many of the extras playing UNIT troops had previously worked in the same capacity in "The Invasion".
  • The script describes Doctor Lawrence as "a keen technocrat in his thirties, sharp and clever".
  • Doctor Quinn is described in the script as being older than Lawrence, "quiet and more solid". The scripted role is a little less genial, and more openly authoritative. He is apt to call a false reading "nonsense", for example, and he will give a bald order where on screen he will ask someone, "would you mind" doing this or that. He is also markedly less deferential to Doctor Lawrence in the script, he always calls Lawrence "sir". The grace notes in the character, like his tendency to say "thank you", were the actor's contribution.
  • Malcolm Hulke developed a detailed background for Doctor Quinn, most of which is never explicit on screen. He is the son of a famous father, Sir Charles Quinn, the man who pioneered experimental atomic science. His own passion is for geology, but his strong-willed father forced him to become a physicist instead. That is why he's far happier exploring the caves than he is sitting behind his desk in the cyclotron room.
  • Major Baker is described as "a tough soldier still in his thirties. He manages to wear to sports jacket and flannels like a uniform".
  • The doctor who appears at the beginning of episode six, who goes unnamed within the programme iself and is credited simply as "Hospital Doctor", is identified as "Doctor Green" in the script.
  • In the script, Private Upton was Private Jones. He was renamed as part of an in-joke, naming minor UNIT personnel after members of the production team. As well as Private Upton (after the director's assistant, Sue Upton), there are also mentions of a Major Walton, who got his name from the serial's Lighting Supervisor, Ralph Walton.


  • The uniforms were designed by Bobi Bartlett in 1968 for UNIT's debut appearance in "The Invasion". The design concept was that United Nations soldiers would have their own uniforms, not those of the British regular army.
  • Wright was written as a private, and is listed with that rank in episode six's closing credits, but the wardrobe department supplied a uniform with a single chevron on the sleeve, giving him an inadvertent promotion to lance corporal. The same happens with Private Upton, who wears the two chevrons of a corporal.
  • Nicholas Courtney hated the Brigadier's uniform and was pleased when it was later replaced by a standard British army uniform.

Sets and props[]

  • This is Bessie's first appearance in Doctor Who. In the previous serial, "Spearhead from Space", the Doctor stole a vintage car, which had to be returned to the owner at the end. The provision of something similar was one of the conditions he made when accepting the offer to work for the Brigadier.
  • Spencer's wall-drawing was inspired by the cave paintings at Lascaux in south-western France. They were made around 14,000 years ago and lay undisturbed until their accidental discovery in 1940. There are nearly 2000 images on the cave walls, repesenting everything from animals to geometric shapes.
  • All the technicians working in the cyclotron room wear radiation detectors on their lapels.
  • The crew nicknamed the cyclotron the "Hoovermatic", noting its resemblance to a washing machine.
  • Set designer Barry Newbery wanted the cyclotron room to look different from the usual style of Doctor Who control room. Many of the instruments, including those with square black surrounds, were of Italian design. They were bought from an electronics store in Goodge Street, the centre of London's electrical hardware trade.
  • The TM-45 radio the Brigadier uses while conducting the search for the injured Silurian on the moor was previously used in "The Invasion". It would later appear in "The Green Death".


  • "Doctor Who and the Silurians" was the first Doctor Who serial to use Colour Separation Overlay, a technology that would become ubiquitous further on in the programme's history as producer Barry Letts's enthusiasm for it grew. Its very first use in the programme was to provide a cave wall in the background of the scene in which Baker is captured by the Silurians. It was also used to place pictures on the screen of a Silurian monitor and to produce shots of the dinosaur kept by the Silurians.
  • The dinosaur was actually a suit worn by visual effects assistant Bertram A Collacott, and was referred to as "Bertram the Friendly Monster" in the camera scripts. For the scenes where the dinosaur appeared with the Doctor and Liz, Collacott was recorded acting against a blue backdrop required for CSO to work. The blue colour was then replaced by video images of Jon Pertwee and Caroline John "reacting" to the creature. Only after the programme had been completed did it occur to the production staff that a model could have been used, as the actual size of the dinosaur prop was of no importance. This was the approach later taken with similar monsters like the Drashigs and a plesiosaur in "Carnival of Monsters", and the eponymous creatures of "Invasion of the Dinosaurs".

Other information[]

  • When they started making this serial, the relationship between Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney was a frosty one. Pertwee was a stickler for detail, keen to ensure that everything in the production would be exactly right. His motives were unimpeachable, but to some other members of the team it looked like "interfering." During the production of the previous serial, "Spearhead from Space", he gave his concerned attention to some aspects of Nicholas Courtney's performance as the Brigadier. The ice broke between the two actors on the second day of rehearsals for this episode, 16 December 1969. Courtney admitted to Pertwee that he felt rather strange: it was his fortieth birthday. Pertwee - who was ten years older - went over to a trestle table, where he took out a penknife and mischievously carved "Brig is 40 today" into the wood. This simple, human gesture began a bonding process which lead to friendship.
  • Private Wright is played by Derek Pollitt, who had played the comical army driver Evans in "The Web of Fear". When the British-army-versus-monsters concept span off from that 1968 serial to become the UNIT format, Pollitt had hoped his character might be kept on as a Doctor Who semi-regular along with the Brigadier.
  • This is the first serial to discard the hyphen in Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's surname for the credits, beginning a practice that would last until Nicholas Courtney's final regular appearance in "Terror of the Zygons". All but one of the serials in the interim - the exception being "Day of the Daleks" - neglected to display a hyphen.
  • Carey Blyton composed the incidental music for this serial, making extensive use of a medieval wind instrument known as the crumhorn for scenes featuring the Silurians. Blyton would later provide original scores for both "Death to the Daleks" and "Revenge of the Cybermen".
  • The Silurians' atavistic effect on vulnerable humans has a close parallel in Quatermass and the Pit (1958-9), in which proximity to the buried Martian spaceship touches off deep, primitive fears and buried race memories. Malcolm Hulke rationalised this in terms of Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious, which posited that all human beings carry an inherited latent memory of their ancestral existence.


  • This story was novelised by original scriptwriter Malcolm Hulke under the title of Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters, with the names of the Old Silurian, the Young Silurian and the Silurian scientist being given as Okdel, Morka and K'to respectively. The novelisation featured a prologue in which the Silurians go into hibernation and also included further background for a number of the characters.
  • The events of this story are related in Gary Russell's Missing Adventures novel The Scales of Injustice, in which Icthar and the Silurian scientist - named here as "Bokka K'to" - are written as unambiguously different characters from separate groups of Silurians.
  • The New Adventures novel Blood Heat by Jim Mortimore features an alternate timeline branching off from this story in which Morka killed the Doctor during their confrontation underneath Wenley Moor and subsequently led a conquest of the Earth.

Links and references[]


Uncredited performers[]


  • Written by Malcolm Hulke
  • Directed by Timothy Combe
  • Produced by Barry Letts
  • Title Music by Ron Grainer and BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • Incidental music composed and conducted by Carey Blyton
  • Film Cameraman - Fred Hamilton
  • Film Editor - Bill Huthert
  • Visual Effects by James Ward
  • Costumes - Christine Rawlins
  • Makeup -
    • Marion Richards
    • Teresa Wright
  • Studio Lighting - Ralph Walton
  • Sound - John Staple
  • Special sounds by Brian Hodgson & BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • Videotape Editor - Sam Upton
  • Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
  • Designer - Barry Newbery


Distant past; 1971; 2021

A37; ambulance; America; antibiotic; ape; atom; atomic bomb; bacteria; Bessie; brigadier; British Army; British currency; British Rail; broad-spectrum antibiotic; captain; car; coffee; corporal; Crawford; cyclotron; Defence Committee; Derbyshire; dinosaur; disease; division; dog; Earth; electron; explosive charge; grenade; heart failure; helicopter; hibernation unit; Holmes, Sherlock; Jabberwocky; Loch Ness Monster; London; magic; major; Marylebone station; Metropolitan Police; microwave; Minister of Defence; Minister of Science; Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Science; molecular disperser; the Moon; morphine; nuclear power; nuclear reactor; Paleolithic; Permanent Under-Secretary; Peters; pigeon; pitchfork; plague; potholing; private; proton; radio; sabotage; scanning microscope; security clearance; sergeant; Silurian; Silurian communications device; Silurian era; Silurian Triad; small arms; sonic screwdriver; support platoon; swagger stick; taxi; telephone; TM-45; train; United Kingdom; United Kingdom law enforcement; United Nations Intelligence Taskforce; UNIT HQ; UNIT temporary HQ; uranium; Van Allen belt; Walton; Watchdog; Dr. Watson; Wenley; Wenley Hospital; Wenley Moor; Wenley Moor research centre; West Coast; Windmill 123; Z19

Additional references[]

Amersham; Aylesbury; Bucks Life; Chalfont & Latimer; Chorley Wood; Great Missenden; Harrow on the Hill; High Wycombe; Little Kimble; Moor Park; Rickmansworth; Stoke Mandeville; The Times; Wendover; West Ruislip